Published June 30, 2021
By John Harris [Tennessee Firearms Association] –
In the next week, there will be many social media posts about Tennessee’s new permitless carry law. Many of those may promote the idea that it is no longer a crime to carry a handgun in Tennessee because of Constitutional Carry. That assertion is wrong.
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Tennessee’s new “permitless carry” law, which some inaccurately refer to as “constitutional carry”, does NOT eliminate the criminal charge in Tennessee for carrying a firearm with the intent to go armed. Consider these points:
• The new “permitless carry” is not true constitutional carry. True constitutional carry requires the repeal of an existing law that makes it a crime for anyone to carry a firearm with the “intent to go armed”. The Governor’s law does not do this.
• The new “permitless carry” law retained the statute that makes it a crime for law abiding individuals to carry a firearm for personal safety. See, TCA 39-17-1307(a).
• The new “permitless carry” law is only a qualified exception to the crime of carrying a handgun with the intent to go armed. TCA 39-17-1307(g)
• The new “permitless carry” law does not apply to everyone who can legally purchase or possess a handgun. It has at least 7 conditions that must be met in order to be eligible for the individual to rely on it as an exception to a criminal charge.
• The new “permitless carry” law creates “traps” that can result in those who rely on it being charged with crimes. For example, an individual who has a permit can carry in a public park, in a campground or on a greenway. However, someone relying on the “permitless carry” law would likely be committing a crime for going in those same places.
The Tennessee Firearms Association recommends that those who want to carry a handgun in Tennessee get the Tennessee enhanced handgun permit.
That permit provides the broadest capacity to carry in Tennessee under current law, it provides the most options on how to carry in Tennessee, it provides defenses that are not available under the new “permitless carry” law and it provides the greatest degree of acceptance by other states if you travel.
You can get more details in the TFA’s detailed analysis of this new law here.
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